Blue Jays: How things look for the other Wild Card contenders

Aug 8, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder George Springer (4) celebrates his single against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 8, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder George Springer (4) celebrates his single against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 27, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Chris Bassitt (40), first baseman Matt Olson (28), catcher Sean Murphy (12) and third baseman Matt Chapman (26) celebrate after Bassitt’s complete game shutout against the Los Angeles Angels at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
May 27, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Chris Bassitt (40), first baseman Matt Olson (28), catcher Sean Murphy (12) and third baseman Matt Chapman (26) celebrate after Bassitt’s complete game shutout against the Los Angeles Angels at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

Oakland A’s

How do the A’s find a way to end up in the playoff picture every single year? Despite the fact that they’re penny-pinching ways have them making decisions like letting Marcus Semien walk after the 2020 campaign, they’re still a great team.

The A’s are actually only 2.0 games behind the Houston Astros for the AL West division lead, and it’s possible they should push for bigger goals than a Wild Card spot. As much as I basically just called them cheap, I’ll give them credit where it’s due because they added some key players in Starling Marte and Yan Gomes ahead of the trade deadline. The Marte addition in particular has proven to be very important in light of Ramon Laureano’s suspension that will keep him out for the rest of the year.

As for their schedule, the 66-48 A’s have a mixed bag over their last 48 games. They’ll have some tough contests with seven against the White Sox, six with the Astros, four vs. the Yankees, and three against the Blue Jays and Giants. However, they’ll also have some lighter competition that they should be able to take care of like the Tigers, Rangers, and Royals.

Arguably more than any other team I’ve looked at here, the A’s will be able to shape their own destiny. If they want to make sure that the Mariners don’t get back in the playoff mix, they can all but stop them on their own over their nine remaining games against each other. The A’s also play the Astros for six of their last nine games of the regular season, including closing the schedule out at home. If they’re within striking distance of the division, they could vault themselves out of the Wild Card picture all together.

All that said, and maybe this is my years of AL East bias coming through, I feel like the A’s are as vulnerable as any of the four teams. They have a difficult schedule, and while they’ve had the benefit of a mostly healthy roster this season, that also means there won’t be any reinforcements coming like the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox could all get. And yet, they somehow seem to always find a way, so you can never count them out. As of now, the other three are still chasing them for the top of the Wild Card standings.